North Walsham mayor defends another sharp rise in tax bills

Barry Hester, North Walsham mayor for 2016-2017, with deputy mayor Sally Stuckey. Picture: SUBMITTED

Barry Hester, North Walsham mayor for 2016-2017, with deputy mayor Sally Stuckey. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

North Walsham mayor Barry Hester has defended another steep rise in the town council part of residents' council tax bills.

Town councillors have set their 2017-2018 precept at £77.29 for a Band D household - a 16pc increase on this year's figure of £66.55 which was, in turn, 43pc more than the previous year.

Mr Hester says the town council needs the cash to meet the demands of townsfolk for improvements and to cover the cost of the increasing responsibilities which the town council is inheriting from North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council.

The final precept may be subject to change after information is received from North Norfolk District Council, according to town clerk Nick Clancy.

The town council's budget for next year includes: £15,000 towards the renovation of the St Nicholas Court shopping precinct, £14,500 to employ an apprentice groundsman to help with an expanding workload which includes extra verge cutting, £10,000 for play equipment in the Memorial Park, £10,000 to secure permanent parking for council vehicles, £8,000 for a CCTV camera and possible solar lighting covering North Walsham Memorial Park which is open 24/7, and £5,000 for shelters if a hoped-for bus interchange goes ahead.

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'These are things we get criticised about and we're trying to address some of the things which residents say they want done in the town - but everything cost money,' said Mr Hester.

The town council was likely to take over all grass cutting carried out by the district and county councils, incurring extra expense but meaning it could carry out more cuts and respond to problem areas much more quickly.

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